Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

Upgrading Smoke Detectors

Donít you hate when smoke detectors start ringing in the middle of the night, especially when it is only a low battery warning that wakes you up? I know I do, and it has happened way too often for me recently. Try imagining someone setting up and climbing a ladder in the middle of the night when half asleep. I assure you that this situation can be quite dangerous, and that was exactly what I did twice this month.

I have a simple recommendation for manufacturers of smoke detectors and fire alarms. When fire alarms detect a low battery, donít start ringing the alarm or loudly start chirping an alert. Instead, have the smoke detectors begin alerting people at a lower volume and/or with a flashing LED light. After a few hours, periodically increase the volume and flashing. This way, smoke detectors will less likely inconvenience people by waking them up and have them perform dangerous actions when they are not fully awake. Otherwise, manufacturers can include more advanced features, such as a clock so the alarm does not wake up people at night or have it send an email that the battery is low.

I know some manufacturers of fire alarms want batteries to be replaced every year, such as on your birthday as a useful reminder, but most batteries are still perfectly usable after a single year. It would be wasteful and environmentally unfriendly to replace and throw away old batteries so frequently.

As you can see, my advice is extremely simple and to the point. Furthermore, remember to test your smoke detectors often, especially if you are moving into a new home.

by Phil for Humanity
on 05/21/2008

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